Perfectly seared scallops take the right kind of scallops and the right timing.
My friends and I have been talking about the concept of time and what we wanted to or thought to achieve by now, dreams and goals we’ve been trying to reach, etc. I keep thinking to myself, “what if”, or looking back thinking something was a waste of time and feeling overwhelmed by things I still want to complete. Does that make sense?
I recently watched a video on people’s personal time frame and timezone. It talked about how some get their first big job at age of 20 but die at 40, and some start a new career at 50 and die after 90. An example was President Obama leaving the office at 55 while President Trump got his post at the age of 70. And so on. There is no one rule of what you need to achieve by a certain time, but it is important to give yourself permission to move at your own pace, your own speed. You have to be patient and kind to yourself as all good things take time.
Have you heard about Saturn Return? This is the astrological period of our life when the Saturn completes its orbit around the sun coinciding with the time of our birth. It can be called our cosmic rite of passage. It happens every 29.5 years and lasts 2.5 to 3 years.
During the Saturn Return, we face our biggest fears and questions. Past experiences don’t look the same and the things that drove us the last 28 years doesn’t work the same way either. Saturn wakes us up to reality, responsibility, lessons, and limitations. It teaches us discipline and self-control.
So while you’re reflecting and thinking about where you are in life, don’t forget to eat something good. You can treat yourself to this delicious Seared Scallops and Parmesan Cauliflower Purée with silky coconut cream sauce. Microgreens and edible flowers make this beautiful, light, and tasty!
Secrets to Perfectly Seared Scallops
One way to ensure your scallops come out perfectly seared is buying the right kind of scallops. When scallops are wet, they are impossible to sear without overcooking them. A perfectly pan seared scallop will have a gorgeous golden crust with a moist and tender inside.
There are two ways in which scallops are prepared and sold to the market, dry and wet. Wet-packed scallops are treated with sodium tripolyphosphate (STPP) to add water weight, which gives them a plump appearance for a longer time. Giving them a longer shelf life means they are often less than fresh. Treated scallops are white in color and are sitting in milky colored water. They are rubbery and can be bitter or have a soapy flavor from the phosphates. They also become much smaller as the water evaporates during the cooking process. At the same time, they usually never caramelize because of the excess water.
Dry-packed scallops, or natural scallops, are not treated with phosphates. They are packed and shipped on ice without any chemical additives. Dry scallops are not white. They are off-white or even a light tan color. They have a sweet and delicate flavor and will caramelize beautifully to a deep golden color without cooking it more than 60-90 seconds on each side. If you do not live in a coastal area or have a hard time finding fresh scallops at your grocery store, you can order dry scallops online and have them delivered overnight.
Scallops should be marked dry or wet. If not, be sure to ask the person behind the counter so you know what you are buying.
- 6 - 8 dry-packed scallops
- 1 cauliflower
- 8 ounces coconut milk
- 1 shallot
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tablespoons Parmesan
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 - 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 lemon zest and juice
- Garnish with microgreens and edible flowers (optional)
- Cut out few cauliflower crowns, about 6 pieces, 1/2 cm thick. Put it aside.
- Chop the rest of cauliflower roughly and put into a small sauce pan. Add about half cup of water and let it steam on a low to medium-heat until the cauliflower is soft or water evaporates. If it’s cooked, but you still have some water left, drain it and let it cook a little. (about 5 minutes)
- Place cauliflower into a blender with parmesan cheese, touch of olive oil or butter, salt and pepper to taste.
- In a small sauce pan sweat chopped shallot and garlic until it starts giving some color. Add coconut cream, salt, pepper and let it reduce by half on a medium-heat. Add lemon zest and lemon juice (about 10-15 minutes).
- Preheat the olive oil in a pan and cook cauliflower crowns with touch of salt and pepper until golden brown on both sides. Set aside (about 2 minutes each side).
- Preheat the pan on medium-high heat. Add a little olive oil and butter. Place scallops in the pan. Do not flip the scallops until you see a beautiful, deep golden crust form on the bottom, about 1 to 1.5 minutes. Turn them only once.
- To plate, spread cauliflower puree on a plate with the back of a spoon. Carefully arrange the scallops and cauliflower crowns. Top with coconut cream sauce.
- Garnish with microgreens and edible flowers.